7 Days 6 Nights Headhunter's Heartland By Bike ~ Sarawak Borneo
Story of the Headhunters
Sarawak is where adventure lives. Join us for the trip of a lifetime, into Malaysia’s largest state, all 48,000 square miles of it. Navigate the old highways of Borneo – the rivers — and ride the outback country lanes to travel into Iban heartland. Until well into the 20th century, rivers were the highways of Borneo. Though supplemented by a modern road system today, riparian transport is still part of everyday life.
Sarawak used to be under Brunei suzerainty, but in the 1840s an English gentleman-adventurer, James Brooke, was awarded custody of the turbulent little province, and granted the title Rajah. The dynasty of the White Rajahs lasted 100 years; today Sarawak is part of Malaysia.
Discover traces of the White Rajahs, and see how they had to shore up their position by building Forts. Brooke era buildings are an important part of Sarawak’s architectural heritage today, as well as interesting historical markers.
The Dayaks of Borneo, once feared headhunters, cling to their distinctive house form: the longhouse. They’ll welcome you into this village of homes built side by side, linked by a long covered veranda along the front of the individual doors and covered by one huge roof.
Your route is dotted with longhouses, some pretty ancient, others new – modern building materials are used today, but the essential lifestyle of a village under one roof has not changed. For a few memorable days you’ll be ‘one of the family’. You’ll enjoy spontaneous ‘longhouse hospitality’ at its best, sharing simple cuisine of fresh produce from farms and the jungle, eating your meals on a mat on the floor, and dossing down under a mosquito net at night.
Paved roads and gravel tracks with some undulations.
Some easy off-road biking.
DestinationBorneo ~ Sarawak ~ Kuching ~ Interior
Minimum no. of Persons
Min 2 person
Hotel pick up - within Kuching City
Tour Starts At
7 Days / 6 Nights
RM 460 / Bike
No. of Cycling Days
3 full days, 1 half day
Facility & Activity
English speaking guide, accommodations and meals, support vehicle, helmet, rain ponchos, drinks & snacks, other non-riding activities as per itinerary and entrance fees. Free airport transfer for tours of more than 3 days.
7 Days 6 Nights Headhunter's Heartland By Bike
For more information on rates:
- English speaking guide, accommodations and meals, support vehicle, helmet, rain ponchos, drinks & snacks, other non-riding activities as per itinerary and entrance fees. Free airport transfer for tours of more than 3 days.
RM 908 / Rider
Minimum Age of participant:
When bookings are made the following information needs to be confirmed :
-Name and Nationality of participant -Height of participant -Email address of primary contact - Mobile number of primary contact - Dietary requirements (if any) -Medical conditions (if any)
DAY 1 Arrive at Kuching, Cycle the Heritage Trail (12 km)
Arrive in the capital of Sarawak, the charming old town of Kuching. The group will meet with the tour leader in the late afternoon for a briefing on the tour, a chance to try out the bikes, and then we head off straightaway onto the heritage trail of the White Rajah. Enjoy a welcomed sunset dinner at the bank of the romantic Sarawak River.
Basaga Hotel / The Marian Meals: D
Pedal into history on this heritage tour of Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. Explore the Main Bazaar of the picturesque Old Town, and stop at the Square Tower, at the ‘stone jetty’. In the early days of the Brooke Rajah, this Fort and a nearby Court House were the full extent of government buildings. Cross the River in the traditional fashion, in a ‘sampan’ ferry deftly steered with oars, to visit Fort Margherita, built by Charles Brooke in 1879 and named after his bride. The Fort’s cannons were trained on the river, both a traffic route and possible source of an enemy attack. As it happens, the brick-built edifice has never been shot at in anger. After substantial renovations it is now a Museum of Brooke memorabilia.
DAY 2 Long Boat to Banting
After breakfast we start our journey into the Borneo interior. Visit two lively market bazaars along the way before reaching the outpost town of Pantu. We take a traditional long boat ride into a remote longhouses of Banting, accessible only by boat on crocodile infested river. Explore the local community with your local host and enjoy spontaneous ‘longhouse hospitality’ at its best, sharing simple traditional cuisine on the floor and dossing down under a mosquito net at night.
Banting Longhouse Meals: BLD
We make our first stop at Serian market, a great place to find every kind of fruit imaginable. Next stop, trading bazaar Lachau and a village-style lunch.The riverine adventure starts at Pantu, in shallow-draft longboats all the way to the Iban villages of Banting. Banting is an old rallying point of the Ibans who use the fertile lowlands for padi farming. The rocky hill by the river was a primitive fort; in times of danger the villagers found refuge here. The early Christian missionaries recognized the importance of the vantage point and crowned it with St.Paul’s Church which, improved and renovated many times, has stood here since 1859. Enjoy the simple longhouse welcome – never mind what time visitors turn up, refreshments will be offered. Once you’ve been shown your quarters you’re welcome to-stroll around the village, climb the hill to inspect the church, ask someone to explain the mysterious rock formations near the river, maybe drop in at the school, see people produce artistic handicrafts like mat-making and weaving, or wander off to the rice fields and vegetable gardens. The river here is famous for its prawns — unfortunately, crocodiles like the tasty crustaceans quite as much as we humans do. Swimming in the river is NOT recommended!
DAY 3 Cycle to Fort Alice (51 km)
After a short boat transfer to a tiding outpost of Lingga, we ride up the majestic Batang Lupar River, bypassing longhouse villages, farms and paddy fields. If we are lucky, we can see the natural phenomenon of tidal bore roar pass us during our ride. We will reach the old town of Sri-Aman to visit the newly restored Fort Alice to discover how battles were fought during the warring era.
Seri Simanggang Hotel Meals: BLD
You’ll set off by longboat for the Lingga bazaar, center of the lower Batang Lupar where you’ll taste a coffee shop breakfast. In James Brooke’s time, the township was ruled by two feisty Malay women of the aristocratic class who didn’t shirk from donning male attire and joining their followers in warfare if the occasion demanded it! You’ll enjoy an easy ride along the banks of the great river. A few hills in the distance enliven the landscape; make a couple of detours to have a look at particularly interesting longhouses. You’ll pedal into the capital of the Batang Lupar, Sri Aman (formerly known as Simanggang) in time for lunch. You can’t miss Fort Alice (1864) perched on a riverside hillock, commanding a good view of the river from where trouble might be expected to come in the old days… and it frequently did. Like all forts, Alice served for defense and security, as administrative headquarters, and as a prison – ‘lifers’ were usually incarcerated in Fort Alice.
DAY 4 Cycle (32 km) and Boat to Skrang River
After a short river crossing, we continue another day of pleasant ride upriver to another old fort, Fort Lily at Betong. Along the way, meet a war hero with medals from the Queen of England and discovery some old skulls still hanging inside an old longhouse. After a visit to Fort Lily, get into another long boat up the Skrang River famous for its feared warrior. The old chief will entertain you with old tales and maybe a little rice wine at Nanga Murat longhouse.
Nanga Murat Longhouse Meals: BLD
After breakfast, you’ll cross the river and pedal overland to the next main township, Betong, on the Layar River. You may get a chance to pay your respects to,a now very veteran warrior who was awarded the George Cross by King George VI; he lives in quiet retirement near his hometown Sri Aman. After a good stint of pedaling, you’ve deserved a good coffee-shop lunch in Betong! Visit Fort Lily (1855), built to fortify this ‘outstation’. Lily has seen considerable action in the turbulent times when Iban chief Rentap challenged the Rajah; some of the cannon used in the skirmishes are preserved in the Betong District Office. Your journey continues by car until you reach Pais jetty on the Skrang River; here you board longboats to proceed in time-honoured Sarawak fashion. Remember, the rivers were our highways until not so very long ago! You’ll disembark at Nanga Murat longhouse to meet the old chief. The villagers have recently moved into a new longhouse; don’t forget to visit the old one for comparison! Old or new, longhouse hospitality is from the heart, but the facilities tend to be fairly simple; be prepared to eat seated on the floor, and sleep on a mattress under a mosquito net.
DAY 5 Cycle (51 km) and Boat to Batang Ai Resort
After a short land transfer, we take a pleasant ride passing through many more longhouse villages and small farms. We reach the Batang Ai Lake for a scenic boat ride into a longhouse style resort for a well deserved relaxation.
Batang At Resort Meals: BLD
Today you really do travel up country! After a short trip in the van you’ll cycle away from the trunk road, southwards, towards the Kalimantan border. Numerous longhouses along the trail makes the point: this is the Iban heartland. You’ll make a side excursion up the Lemanak River; where the terrain gets hilly.-Pedal and pedal until you can literally go no further, and you’ll reach a man-made lake snuggled among the hills. This lake supplies hydro-electricity to most of Kuching and West Sarawak. You’ll embark on a lake craft that looks roughly like the ‘African Queen’ to cross the Hydro Lake to the Batang Ai Resort. Yes indeed, the cluster of longhouses bedded against the green slopes is a resort! Spend a leisurely afternoon and evening, recovering from the rigours of the trail.
DAY 6 Rest and Transfer to Kuching
In the morning, you will have the option to relax by the pool, visit a nearby longhouse or a waterfall. After lunch, we take the final land transfer back to civilization. We then enjoy our final meal together and celebrate the tour.
Basaga Hotel / The Marian Meals: BLD
After a late breakfast, take a dip in the swimming pool, go for a jungle walk, explore a nearby longhouse or visit a waterfall, commune with nature — this is an easy day. After lunch we’ll set off for Kuching. The return journey to Kuching is for relaxing, talking and singing, and re-living the adventure you’ve just enjoyed. Epic Headhunter’s Trail is a trip to remember! Enjoy one last, glorious meal together at the Topspot Food Center in Kuching. It’s where all the good food of Sarawak comes together. The waiters don’t carry white serviettes over their left arm and the ambiance leaves something to be desired, but the food is, seriously, something to write home about!
DAY 7 Tour Concludes in Kuching
Today the tour concludes. For those who are not in a hurry to leave, the wildlife and adventures of Borneo awaits. For more information on these amazing adventures and other destinations to extend your holiday, please ask our team at the time of booking.
Transfer to Kuching airport for a flight home sweet home.
Please note that the above itinerary is subjected to change due to unforeseen circumstances. However, we will always do our best to adhere to this original itinerary.
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What You Should Expect
Our Team: Your local English-speaking tour leader takes great pride in his or her heritage (as well as their own personal story) and are well informed in Borneo’s history, culture and natural wonders of the area where you are biking and are skilled at passing that knowledge on to you. Along with further support from his or her assistant and / or driver, the tour leader’s aim is to deliver a comfortable, safe, fun and enriching travel experience by ensuring- that everything runs smoothly so you can enjoy a trouble-free journey with no worries at all.
Bikes and Backup Support: On short tours (those under 3 days) we include bike hire in the tour price, while on longer tours, we offer bike hire as a supplement in case you prefer to bring your own bike. Bikes can be rented from us on an availability basis (please check the factsheet for the hire cost). We provide good condition front suspension mountain bike with lightweight alloy frames, 27-speed gearing, dish-brakes and Shimano components. Helmets are included. Our tour leader carry spares and tools for basic repair.
Support Vehicle: Our bike tours are fully supported by an air-conditioned vehicles, so should you want put your feet up, there will be a seat for you and a place to put your bike. The support vehicle also carries your luggage as well as keep you topped up with water, tropical fruit and snacks.
Safety Measures: Wearing a helmet is strongly recommended on all our biking adventures. Your tour leader will conduct a group cycling safety meeting on day one, as well as a trip briefing at the beginning of each day on what to expect during the day’s ride. Your tour leader is trained in first aid and emergency rescue, but to a large degree, you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. For non-biking activities such as kayaking, safety measure such as life-jackets are compulsory and a separate safety briefing will be given before the start of each activity.
Food & Drinks: Meals and snacks are included as per the itinerary. We take good care in our planning so it includes the best of Sarawak cuisine, including delicacies from mixture of Dayak, Malay and Chinese cuisine that uses local fresh ingredients from the tropics. Some can be hot and spicy. We eat dinner together Malaysia style by sharing delicious dishes. Alcoholic drinks are available at your own expense, but it might not be served in some Muslim halal restaurants where we will eat.
Accommodation: We have carefully chosen accommodation that is the best available for the location and have friendly local hosts. We strive to offer a good mix of accommodation that is clean, comfortable and representative of the local culture so you have a comfortable night after a hard day in the saddle. The type of lodging can vary depending on location and what is available: local tribal homestay, jungle lodge, national park cabin, historical shophouse and seaside resort. Rooms are based on twin sharing basis with double beds and if you are a single traveler, you might be paired with traveler of the same sex unless you book a single supplement.
Fitness and Cycling Conditions: The tour statistics of cycling days, cycling distances and cycling grades for each tour are listed in the fact sheet. All our trips require basic fitness, preferably acquired through riding your bike. The fitter you are the more you’ll enjoy the riding. However, all of our current bike tours in Sarawak are less strenuous in nature with the average cycling distance of 30-40 km per day and the longest cycling not more than 70km. Most cycling terrains are mainly on continuous paved roads (and limited gravel tracks) with some undulations. It is mostly feasible for the journey to be completed by people of moderate cycling ability.
Your Pre- and Post- Tour Information
Weather: Borneo being on the equator is generally hot (average daily temperatures are around 30 Celsius) and humid, especially during the noon period. Therefore, as much as possible, we like to start our day early and finds points of interest to rest at during the hottest part of the day. Short busts of rain are fairly common during the mid to late afternoon but we provide waterproof ponchos for continuous riding which can be fun.
What to Bring: Once you have booked your tour, we will send you a pre-tour information pack that will have all the information you need to prepare for the tour, such as the packing list and joining instruction etc.
Start & Finish Point: For longer tours of over 3 days, your tour start and finish point is at the Kuching airport and we will transfer you to and from our pre-arranged hotels. For shorter tour, the tour start and finish point is the accommodation of your own arrangement within Kuching city where we will arrange for your pick up on the day the tour starts. Upon your booking, you will need to give us your flight arrival details so that airport transfer can be arranged (for longer tours) or your hotel detail (for shorter tours).
Singles: Sole travelers are always welcome and those who would like their own room have the option of paying -a single supplement. Otherwise, we will arrange for a shared room with another solo traveler (of the same sex) at no extra cost. If there is no roommate available, we will cover the additional cost of a single room.
Money: The official currency is the Malaysian ringgit (RM). Foreign currencies are not generally accepted and currency exchange is only available in Kuching’s major banks as well as larger hotels. Credit cards can be used only in larger hotels and shops. ATMs are widely available in cities and towns, but you’ll need cash in villages to pay for some extra meals, drinks, activities and, of course, shopping. We recommend that you bring an equivalent of US$ 250/- (i n Malaysian ringgit) for incidentals.
Each participant is required to sign an indemnity form before the tour commences..
i. Confirmation more than 60 calendar days before the tour: Full payment must be received at least 60 days before the tour start date;
ii. Confirmation from 60 to 29 calendar days before the tour: Full payment must be received within one week of when the tour is confirmed;
iii. If the tour is confirmed within 28 days before the tour date: Full payment must be
received within 3 business days of when the tour is confirmed.
If you wish to cancel your booking, you must notify us in writing either by post or by email.
Days prior to trip start / Cancellation fee per person:
- 0-20 days or No-show: No refund 100% of tour price
- 21-41 days: 75% of the net rate
- 42-55 days: 50% of the net rate
- 56-69 days: RM 1,000/-
- 70 days: Admin expenses plus any non-recoverable expenses, include bank fees, reservation or advance charges incurred for boats, guides transport accommodation or restaurants and any other reasonable expenses.
Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather or personal emergencies or civil unrest. There is also no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. Single person supplements, bike rental and additional services are considered part of the trip price and are subject to cancellation fees. Tour Operator is not responsible for expenses incurred by the Customers in connection with or in preparation for any canceled trips, such as airline tickets. Customers who fail to provide a signed "Waiver and Release of Liability" will not be allowed to join the trip and the cancellation policy applies.
Cancellation or Alteration by the Tour Operator
Tour Operator reserve the right to alter itineraries or to cancel tours at short or no notice when it is necessary or advisable. The Tour Operator reserves the right to make route and hotel modifications as needed at it’s discretion. If the Tour Operator cancel a tour, the Customers willbe offered at least one of the following options, the choice of which will be at Customers discretion:
1) To join the requested tour at an alternative time or at an alternative date;
2) To join an alternative tour to commence within 13 months of the date the first tour was due to commence. The Customers will need to cover any price difference.
3) To receive a full refund from Tour operator, ie. all payments received to date will be 100% refunded.
Other Circumstances of Cancellation
Tour Operator reserves a right to terminate a Customers's trip immediately due to his inappropriate conduct or behaviour, dress or appearance. This may include occasions where the Customer is drunk, in possession of, or taking or dealing in narcotics, or uses threatening,abusive, insulting or violent behaviour to any of our staff or third parties or other Customers or any behaviour detrimental to the enjoyment of the majority of the group.
Tour Operator strongly advise that Customers have full personal travel insurance that covers for the refund of monies paid in case either party cancels the tour for any reason.
For damages where Tour Operator is responsible, it’s liability is strictly limited to twice the total price of the tour.
If, before the start of the tour, Acts of God, political incident, Force Majeure or heavy weather covering the tour route should render cycling inadvisable or dangerous to the life or health of the cyclists or cause damage to the bikes, with or without consultation, Tour Operator shall have the right to delay, alter or postpone the tour. Likewise, in the course of the execution of the tour, should heavy weather or Force Majeure events occur to make it inadvisable for cyclists to cycle, the Tour Leader shall have the right to delay, alter or postpone cycling until the conditions permit the parties to make adjustments to the itinerary including cancellation of routes through certain areas. Tour Operator shall not be liable for any failure or delay in performance of its obligations which results directly or indirectly from any cause or circumstance which is beyond its reasonable control. The following shall be regarded as examples of such circumstances: act of God, outbreak of hostilities, outbreak of infectious or contagious disease, riot, civil disturbance, acts of terrorism, revolution, the act of any government or authority (including but not limited to refusal or revocation of any licence or consent), fire, flood, lightning, explosion, fog, landslide, subsidence or bad weather, interruption or failure of a utility service (including but not limited to electricity, gas, water or telecommunications), renovations undertaken by the hotel, strikes, lockouts or boycotts, embargo, blockade in the country visited or elsewhere.
Customers must be in possession of a valid passport and all the visas and permits required for the tour. This includes any medical certificates that are required. The Customers accepts full responsibility for obtaining any and all such documentation. bout their immigration / transit policies.Tour Operator does not accept responsibility if Customers documentation is not in order.
Information provided by the Tour Operator about these matters and other related items (clothing, baggage, climate etc.) is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of the company.
Tour Operator has its own insurance policy but with limited coverage. Tour Operator strongly advise that the Customers arrange their own policy to suit their own requirements that include adequate cover for personal accident, medical expenses, air ambulance, injury, illness, death, Customers property and repatriation of the Customers and any Customers property. Insurance should also provide cover for cancellation or curtailment of the holiday and any consequential loss any liability to third parties. Customers should also ensure that there are no exclusion clauses limiting protection for any dangerous or unusual activities that might be included in their tour.
A copy of the travel insurance should be given to Tour Operator prior to departure of the tour. The Customers can either mail, fax or email it to the Tour Operator or give it to the Tour Leader before the tour,.
Upon signing up for a tour Customers must agree to accept the authority of the tour leader who is the representative of the Tour Operator. At all times the authority of the tour leader will be final when concerning matters likely to endanger Customers own health or safety or in regard to behavior or ill health that is causing or is likely to cause danger, distress or disturbance to the group and the well-being of the tour. Failure to abide by the authority of the tour leader could result in the immediate termination of Customers participation in the tour. In such circumstances
Tour Operator reserve the right to terminate all travel arrangements without liability on the part of the company. Customers must always comply with the local law, customs and drug regulations of Malaysia. Failure to do so may lead to Customers being ordered to leave the tour without recourse to any refund or any legal claim against the company.
Flights or Delays
Tour Operator will not accept any liability for any delay in Customers outward or inward flight/s, whether the cancellation or delay is caused by the weather, airline rescheduling, industrial action or mechanical failure. Tour Operator will give no refunds or compensation for lost time and services from the itinerary.
Should Customers have a complaint while on tour, he or she must notify the tour leader, or the Tour Operator, at the earliest opportunity, so that they can do what they can to immediately rectify it. Failure to do so will result in the limiting of a Customer's ability to claim compensation. If the problem is not brought to Tour Operator attention, the company will have no opportunity to rectify it. Any complaints should be sent to Tour Operator in writing, or by email, not more than 28 days after the tour ends.
Unless where caused by an intentional or negligent act on Tour Operator part, Tour Operator is not liable for illness or bodily injury or property damage as a result of (but not limited to): insect bites, food poisoning or animal attack or criminal attack, physical exertion for which a guest is not prepared; forces of nature; travel by plane, train, auto, boat or other conveyance, or by bicycle, kayak, foot or other form of active or adventure travel; consumption of alcoholic beverages or narcotics; civil unrest; terrorism; breakdown of equipment; high altitude; lack of or limited access to medical attention in remote locations; and the adequacy of medical attention obtained or provided.
Tour Operator is also not liable for: expenses (e.g., meals, transportation or hotel costs) that are not specified as included in the trip cost but may be required to get to or from a trip start or end.
Tour Operator reserves the right in its discretion to make route and hotel modifications as necessary to improve the trip quality or to accommodate the comfort and well-being of guests.
Customers will be asked to sign Tour Operator’s Waiver and Release of Liability form before the start each tour. The person who signs the booking form (which incorporates these conditions) warrants that he / she does so, with full authority on behalf of all those whose names appear thereon, and confirms thereby that all such persons accept and are fully aware of these conditions.
Climate, Health, Pregnancy
Customers should be prepared for climates in Malaysia, and should pack accordingly. Customers may suffer from insect bites and stomach upsets and diarrhea and should carry medicine to deal with these routine matters. Customers should obtain all necessary inoculations prior to departure and should consult a hospital or doctor for advice on what inoculations you should have. Customers are asked to advise us specifically if they have any handicap, disability, disease, allergies or health problems or dietary requirements. Tour Operator expect Customers to disclose these frankly, so that Tour Operator can consider whether any additional arrangements ought to be made in Customer’s own interests, or whether Tour Operator can agree to accept Customers for the trip.
Tour Operator do not accept any females Customers who are more than three months pregnant.
Youth on Tours
Youths from age 14 on up are welcome on standard bike tours. Children under the age of 14 will be considered on a case by case basis. If a family with younger children wishes to join a date, Tour Operator will contact guests already registered on that date and with their OK, will accept the family's booking. Youths must share a room with a family member or have a private room
(single supplement applies).
Customers grant Tour Operator express permission to take photographs or make film records of its trips for promotional and commercial use, as well as approve such use by third parties with whom Tour Operator may engage in joint marketing, without financial remuneration. Any intellectual property rights in such photos or films shall belong to Tour Operator.
Tour Operator respects Customer's right to privacy. The personal information gathered from Tour Operator website and from any printed applications or questionnaires is used solely by Tour Operator for the registration and operation of the tours. Some personal information, such as addresses, maybe exchanged with banking institutions while processing payment. Email address will not be shared with anyone.
This Terms and Conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the Malaysian Law